DERRY — Planning Board members agreed Parkland Medical Center’s expansion plan will be good for the community.
Officials gave conditional approval April 2 to Parkland’s plan to build a 7,462-square-foot addition to its existing building for a 14-bed behavioral health wing.
The new wing will be a two-story addition to the hospital and will provide adult voluntary services that can be done in Derry, rather than sending patients to other facilities in the region. Hospital officials have said that will help patients who are often forced to wait in the emergency department until a bed is located for them at another state facility, which can take days.
But one resident questioned the plan’s security and how safe she would be living so close to the new space on Pierce Avenue.
Charlene Batten told officials she was worried about the level of security and hoped the hospital had a plan in place to make sure patients were kept safe and secure.
Batten said she spent years helping a brother with mental health issues and said voluntary placements often didn’t work in her family’s case.
“How will they maintain that these people are secure so they are not going to walk out?” Batten asked. “I understand the need for this facility, but there is no guarantee they will be able to keep them there once they volunteer.”
Parkland Chief Operating Officer Jeff Scionti said the new wing would be very secure, locked for the patients’ safety and for the safety of staff and the community.
He said Parkland is working in tandem with Center for Life Management and said patients would be receiving the best care while admitted to Parkland and beyond for outpatient services.
“There is very strict criteria for what has to be done,” he said.